October 25, 2014

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Avon Lake councilman suggests paintballs to scare off deer

A mother deer and her two fawns play at Bleser Park in Avon Lake. An ordinance allowing residents to manage deer populations through bow hunting takes effect today. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

A mother deer and her two fawns play at Bleser Park in Avon Lake. A council member is suggesting paintball guns as an alternative to the city’s archery ordinance. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

AVON LAKE — A member of Avon Lake Council wants to explore whether residents should be permitted to scare deer away from smaller lots by allowing them to fire at the animals with paintball guns.

Council member Dave Kos, 4th Ward and chairman of the Safety Committee, thinks owners of smaller lots need an alternative since archery equipment — permitted under a new ordinance passed by the Council — would never be approved for use.

The city is well on the way to issuing municipal deer control permits to eligible residents. Under the new ordinance, which took effect last week, landowners who can show deer damage to property may be eligible for a deer damage control permit issued through the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

If issued, landowners then must apply for a municipal deer control permit through the Police Department, which will determine whether deer can be shot safely on those properties.

Kos said residents ineligible for municipal control permits for any number of reasons could use paintball guns to shoot at the hooves of deer as a scare tactic. The topic initially was discussed during an Environmental Committee meeting with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources earlier in the year, Kos said.

“It’s been discussed with ODNR that shooting a deer near the hoof with a paintball gun will get them to scatter,” Kos said during a phone interview.

Kos said multiple residents have said deer will stick around in yards even when people stand in their backyards and yell or bang on pots and pans.

“How do you get them out without putting yourself into direct conflict with them?” Kos asked. “This was one of the alternatives offered, to allow residents to shoot at a deer’s feet to get them off the property.”

The city’s weapons and explosives chapter of the codified ordinances includes a section that prohibits anyone from using slingshots, bows and arrows and air rifles to “purposely or recklessly” shoot projectiles.

Paintball guns are not mentioned, Kos said, and he would like to see the ordinance, enacted in 1958, modernized to have paintball guns coincide with the new deer legislation. The law should be written, he said, so that paintball guns would be allowed only in tandem with the deer legislation.

Geoff Westerfield, Ohio Division of Wildlife assistant wildlife management supervisor, said shooting deer with paintballs is a gray area under the law that is allowable as long as shooters aren’t hurting them.

Nonetheless, he said it’s something he wouldn’t condone.

“I really don’t want to deal with phone calls of a polka-dot deer running around town because it’s gotten hit with 17 different colors of paint balls,” he said.

Westerfield said paintballs would be largely ineffective in scaring away deer, who are accustomed to running through forests and getting whacked with tree branches.

“In the end it’s not a very effective harassment tool,” he said. “There’s a lot of other things out there that can address a problem rather than using a paintball.”

According to a Division of Wildlife Deer Damage Control brochure, methods to remove deer from property include light and sound devices designed to scare deer away, physical barriers to prevent entry and chemical repellants. The Ohio Division of Wildlife also offers a list of plants most damaged by deer, and plants rarely or never damaged, to help homeowners determine suitable landscaping.

Kos said Safety Committee members didn’t feel it was the right time to bring the paintball issue before City Council, but he hopes to bring the subject up again in the fall.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski. 


  • Patrick Mudge

    Seriously? This just opens up a door to countless issues. Soon the ground will freeze (as do paintballs). Then what? Ricochet, injured/wounded deer? This is a bit much. Have you looked at other states an what they do? In Virginia, they hire (for free) professional hunters who are marksman. They donate some of the meat to charity ie Hunters for the Hungry.

    Feel free to contact me as I have experience with this. The city could buy Coyote Urine from a distributor and offer it to residents (or they could buy it themselves) to put down. That will yield the deer away from the area. Remember – heard control starts with the does, not bucks. Make hunters require a doe or two harvest before taking a buck. Otherwise the problem will not correct itself.

    • todd

      Patrick you truly are clueless to this problem. COYOTE URINE. LOLOLOLOL These are not rural deer. These deer shake your hand on your way to work. You don’t have to comment on everything you think you know. It shows your ignorance.

      • Patrick Mudge

        http://www.deerfriendly.com/deer/ohio/urban-deer-management/mentor-city-officials-taking-aim-at-deer-control-with-coyote-urine-january-9-2011

        It works in rural and urban areas. As far as comment history… Your Disqus history shows you comment a lot on issues you seem no have no first hand knowledge of.

        Offer solutions or move on…

        • golfingirl

          It does not work….I have tried it, as well as every other chemical deterrent commercially available.

          There is one, and only one solution. Population control through a “thinning of the herd.”

          • Patrick Mudge

            I understand your concerns and I am in agreement on culling. All I’m saying is that proper deployment of chemicals HAS worked even in Washington DC and Fairfax/Loudon counties where the deer issue is worse than here – before suggesting paintballs. Three different homeowners can use the chemical but if one nearby has a stronger “attractant” it will trump the deterrent. Remember they need food, cover and water. In some states, turning of soil along a road to reduce the salt content (attramctant) is needed to reduce MVAs.

    • JustaTech

      We have tried this and it does not work. These deer are not scared of anything. We have a dog and they are not one bit scared of him and frequently chase him back to the house! One of my neighbors even had a rottweiler killed by a buck. These are NOT your typical deer.

  • Phil Blank

    I’d bet a good percentage of them can’t properly aim, end up shooting the deer in the eye blinding them.
    Then the punk kid paintballers get out there thinking its funny and do more damage to the deer and other animals and birds.

    Just as bad as open season hunting, yet they plan to build more on old farmland in Avon, more habitat lost.

    Maybe they should start paintballing the developers!

  • Phil Blank

    Spray your plants in hot pepper.
    They put powdered pepper on bird seed so the squirrels don’t eat it and it doesn’t hurt the birds.

  • Otter

    I find a big dog is an effective deterrent…..

  • Rae Ingram

    Scare them off where? To the Big Wood? Paint balls sting or worse. Patrick Mudge has some viable ideas.

    • todd

      RAE I have no doubt you THINK Patricks ideas are “viable” Just because you like an idea doesnt make it viable.

  • Pablo Jones

    When I first read this I thought great they will just scare the deer which would then run out in the streets. But that thought quickly passed. Then I thought of a spotted multi-colored deer and that is pretty funny. “Daddy is that a white tailed deer?” “No Billy, that is the spotted nuisance deer.”

    People are for the most part frail compared to wild animals, and people shoot themselves with paintballs all the time with minimal damage. Those with bruises all over their body were usually shot at close range, much closer than you would normally be able to get to a deer. I don’t want to put words in the mouths of the deer but I would think they would prefer to be hit with a paintball than an arrow or bullet.

    • JustaTech

      These deer are not scared of anything. They will let you get right up to them, just before they stomp you to death. Dogs, lights, loud noises, nothing scares them off. They are conditioned to the city life.

      • Pablo Jones

        Closer you get the more effective the paintball will be. Still think it will be funny to see the deer with paint spots all over them.

        Another idea shoot the does with buck pheromones and the bucks with doe pheromones. The bucks will have at it with each other and they will leave the does alone. The result no new deer.

        • JustaTech

          They are working on wildlife contraceptives, but from what I understand they’re having a hard time getting the bucks to use the condoms!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife_contraceptive

          • Joe Smith

            Bucks have a hard time with condoms because they don’t have thumbs

          • Pablo Jones

            I believe they are teaching girls in school now how to put a condom on without using their hands. It must have something to do with complying with the ADA. Surely the same technique can be taught to the deer.

          • Joe Smith

            Deer can’t do that either as they are all “buck” toothed

  • LookBackTwo

    Water ballons are just as effective, and environmentally responsible!

    • SniperFire

      Well, I never had a big welt from a water balloon!

    • Joe Smith

      Only if you pick up the busted balloons after, critters choke on them

  • SniperFire

    It would work. You could also chuck rocks.

  • Sis Delish

    Someone on Council stands to benefit from the sale of Paintball equipment. Which one?

    Hey, how ’bout Spitballs? It worked in grade school.

    • reallyoldfarts

      I lived in Pennsylvania for half my life. An old farmer’s trick was to pee around your garden to keep the deer out. I think any Avon Lake resident that has a dear problem should just take their wizzes outside! It’s natural, it’s green, and it saves city water! Do I have an amen?

      • reallyoldfarts

        Actually, I’m just kidding. ( Though not about the farmer trick. They really do that!) I just got such a chuckle out of reading the headline. I just had to comment something silly.

      • Simon Jester

        Absolute bovine excrement.

        Thanks for playing.

  • deliberative1

    There are so many steps and restrictions on the hunting permits, that I think very few deer will actually be taken.
    I agree that we need a coordinated population control hunt. The ideal place to do this is the woods in the center of town, but since the Lorain County Metroparks controls that land and has a policy against culling, nothing can be done. The citizens need to pressure the Metroparks to change their policy. The overpopulation of deer is more than just a nuisance. It is a hazard to people and to the deer themselves.
    Again, I suspect that nothing serious will be done until a child is hurt.

  • Roxanne

    Maybe if you stopped taking away habitat they would not feel a need to wonder into populated areas. I swear humans really need a predator other then more humans.. we seem to feel we own everything and well f*ck anything else on the planet its just a stupid animal.

    • Pablo Jones

      And is this a comment coming from a person who lives in the woods and is one with nature? Or from someone who lives in a house that occupies land formerly known as nature?

      • HankKwah

        It may be coming from the same woman who wrote a letter to the local paper, questioning why the city would place “Deer Crossing” signs on main roads. She thought they should be placed elsewhere so the deer would cross a less traveled road and lessen the risk of getting hurt. (I’m serious. The woman lives in Avon Lake.)

    • JustaTech

      It’s far too late for that argument.

  • SpaceTech

    I know……..Have Avon make fireworks legal then we can all go out and have bottle rocket fights with the deer.
    INCOMING!!!!!

  • Lewis LaCook

    Simple solution: import wolves.

  • angela

    Have you ever been hit by one of those they hurt. Just what we need hurt animals limping around.